Friday, March 13, 2009

All In The Family: Zartan

My favorite G.I. JOE character since his introduction in 1984, Zartan finally got the figure he deserved in 2007's 25th Anniversary line. While I loved my original as a kid (I detailed the experience of obtaining that figure on my Must-Haves For Collectors page), the older I got, the more annoyed I became with his appearance. The half shirt look is decidedly dated (to be polite about it), but even more ridiculous was the fact that his crop top body armor had short "sleeves" that weren't even connected to the torso piece. It made no sense, and the figure suffers greatly for it. That didn't change my feelings about the character or his story in the Marvel Comic title, but when Devil's Due Publishing got their hands on the G.I. JOE license, they gave Zartan a properly updated costume. Thankfully, and much to the chagrin of fans perpetually stuck in the '80s, it was something very similar to this look that Hasbro chose for Zartan in the 25th Anniversary line. It combines the chest armor with a long-sleeve shirt under it, making it much easier to take this assassin and master of disguise seriously. Hasbro later acquiesced to the kind of collectors who long for the days of Top Gun, Reaganomics, and hair mousse overdoses, releasing a second version last year. In my G.I. JOE universe, though, this is Zartan.

G.I. JOE 25th Anniversary Zartan
Got the two glocks with oowops, the bodies traced in chalk...

Hasbro also released three members of Zartan's gang, the Dreadnoks: Buzzer, Ripper, and Torch. As great as it is to have a modern era display of Zartan & the Dreadnoks, some key members are still missing. Classics like Monkeywrench, Road Pig, and Thrasher still haven't made it into the new line, but even more crucial are Zartan's siblings and offspring, Zarana, Zandar, and Zanya. After Hasbro repeatedly said no to the question of producing these characters, I took it upon myself to add Zartan's sister and daugther to my collection, anyway. Now I've never really done anything with action figure customizing, and I have all the artistic ability of a hyena after a week-long methamphetamine binge. With the combined limits of inexperience and being utterly devoid of talent, I knew this was going to be a challenge, but I gave it a shot. Over the next few days, I'll share the results of my efforts.

Zartan's bike is the Rollin' Thunder from Mattel's Hot Wheels 1:18 Moto line, with Cobra decals from

Zartan is armed with two HK USPs, available as the "Tactical" Automatic Pistol from Marauder "Gun-Runners".

All In The Family: Zartan

Related entries:
All In The Family: Zarana
All In The Family: Zanya
All In The Family: Conclusion